Clean energy sources accounted for 60% of Europe’s electricity in the first two months of this year, marking a record high, according to the climate think tank Ember.

The figure represents a 12% rise in clean power generation from the same period in 2023, with European clean energy generation totalling 516.5 terawatt-hours (TWh) in January and February 2024. 

Fossil fuel generation in Europe has seen a sharp decline since February 2023, with fossil fuels dropping from contributing 46.53% of European power generation to 39.31% in the same time frame this year; 160.66TWh of electricity came from fossil fuels in February 2024, while 248.08TWh came from clean energy generation. 

Much of this change can be attributed to the growth of wind power in 2023, which marked the year wind power overtook gas production for the first time in Europe. Wind farms produced 137.5TWh of electricity across January and February 2024 – a new record and a 14% increase from the same period in 2023. 

Nuclear power generation in the first two months of 2024 was notably higher than the corresponding period of 2023. Total nuclear power output in January–February 2023 was 165.8TWh, compared with 172.5TWh in January–February 2024. However, despite the increased output, the percentage of nuclear in Europe’s electricity mix remained fairly consistent, hovering at approximately 19.5% in both comparable time periods. 

This amounts to a positive outlook for the future of clean energy in Europe. Sarah Brown, Ember’s Europe programme director, expressed her optimism when launching Ember’s European Electricity Review 2024 last month. She said: “The EU’s power sector is in the middle of a monumental shift. Fossil fuels are playing a smaller role than ever as a system with wind and solar as its backbone comes into view. The energy crisis and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine did not lead to coal and gas resurgence – far from it. Coal is nearing phase-out, and as wind and solar grow, gas will be next to enter terminal decline.” 

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However, she also noted that efforts must continue at pace, remarking that “it is not time to get complacent. The EU needs a laser focus on rapidly deploying wind, solar and flexibility to create a system free of fossil fuels”.